Mark Sampson: England women can be world's best team

By Andrew AloiaBBC Sport
England Women celebrate beating Germany at the World Cup
Mark Sampson's England side finished third in the World Cup after beating Germany in extra-time

England boss Mark Sampson believes his side can build on their Women's World Cup bronze medal to become the top side in the world.

Sampson names his first squad since their third-place finish on Monday, before the European Championship qualifier in Estonia on 21 September.

"This is definitely the continuation of the journey," said Sampson.

"We have put the foundations in place to grow a team we feel can grow into the best team in the world."

Sampson will name his squad live on the BBC's Women's Football Show for what will be England's opening qualifier for Euro 2017.

"We didn't plan to do well at a World Cup then stop there," he added.

"It is now a matter of working with the players and working with the team and making sure the structures off the field are right to make this team better."

Injuries to Liverpool's Fara Williams and Birmingham City's Jade Moore will force changes, while the form of Women's Super League One's leading scorer Beth Mead, Chelsea's Gemma Davison, Notts County's Jess Clarke and Manchester City's Demi Stokes has given Sampson a lot to contemplate.

"We have been very clear with our selection criteria; if a player is playing well, the best player in their position and they have the right profile - in terms of their personal characteristics - and they can play a part in the team, then we will be happy to pick them.

"Whether that is a 16-year-old woman or a 35-year-old, it is about what is right for the group.

"It is important to be aware of the bigger picture but also important not to forget what is happening next, which is an important qualifier against Estonia. We need to get the blend and the people in our group right."

Beth Mead
Sunderland striker Beth Mead is the top scorer in Women's Super League One, with 11 goals

Mead, 20, who has scored 11 goals in 11 league games in her first season in top-flight football, has been tipped to earn her first senior call-up.

Sampson said the Sunderland striker is capable of becoming among the best in the world.

"Beth's form has certainly brought her to prominence and her challenge is to keep growing," Sampson said.

"When we are assessing our players now, we don't only assess who are the best in England, but also about how they are benchmarking against the best in the world.

"Beth has a long way to go to be in that bracket, but I certainly feel she has the potential. With the right mentality and right support we can potentially put her there."

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